News & Politics

Is the Special Election in Texas 6 a 'Canary in GOP Coal Mine'?

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

Texas is turning blue. We know because that’s what we’re told. Despite Donald Trump winning the state in 2020 and the 10 Democratic targeted House races all ending up in Republican hands, the state is getting bluer all the time.

We know because… well, if the media tells us Republicans are sinking and Texas is where the “evidence” will appear next, naturally, the race to succeed Rep. Ron Wright, who died of COVID-19 in February, will be the “canary in the coal mine” according to Politico.

If the special election in Texas is any indication for 2022, the GOP’s ongoing identity crisis will leave it with a real mixed-bag of candidates in upcoming federal races.

Take Michael Wood, who has staked out a position far different from the 22 other GOP candidates in a special election to fill the seat of the late Rep. Ron Wright (R-Texas): He is campaigning against Trumpism, which he hopes will save him rather than be a death sentence, as it is for some who cross the former president. Wood says he voted for Donald Trump in 2020, but after Jan. 6 and his efforts to undermine the election results, Wood flipped. Now, he is banking on a GOP voter base in the rapidly diversifying district in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs that is fed up with Trump and looking for something new.

The special election to replace Wright will occur on May 1 and there are 23 candidates — 10 Democrats and 11 Republicans — vying for the seat. If no candidate receives a majority on Election Day, a runoff election will be scheduled later in the summer.

I think it’s fairly obvious to someone who isn’t besotted with anti-Trumpism that Mr. Wood won’t be in any runoff.

“Should Wood prevail with his long-shot bid, he would offer a road map for other Republican candidates who want to distance themselves — and the party — from Trump. But if Wood fails, it could deliver a major blow to the wing of the GOP that’s desperate to turn the page on Trump and hoping to show its strength in the burgeoning battle over who should guide Republicans into the midterms and 2024.”

Both scenarios are ludicrous. The “wing” of the GOP “desperate to turn the page on Trump” doesn’t exist. There are a few like-minded individuals who are beating against the wind in opposing Trump but calling them a “wing” of the party is laughable. The establishment of the GOP doesn’t like Trump but needs him as much as his fervent supporters. Very few, if any, would come out in support of Wood. There will be no “page-turning” anytime soon.

Nor would there be a “road map” for other GOP candidates to follow to “distance” themselves from Trump — not when all but one candidate in the race is praying for the former president’s endorsement.

The race may come down to the congressman’s widow Susan, a conservative party activist with a bunch of endorsements from Texas Republicans. She is vying with two former Trump administration officials, Brian Harrison and Sery Kim, for a spot in the runoff. Kim has been denounced by Asian-American groups for making anti-Chinese comments.

Harrison has been trying to ride his service in the administration so hard that he’s angered some former Trump officials who think he’s trying to portray his service dishonestly. Since most voters won’t care about the controversies, these candidates’ connections to Trump still give them an advantage.

Despite the odds, Democrats sense a change in the wind and believe one of their candidates will succeed. They are running two political losers — Jana Lynne Sanchez, whom Wright defeated in 2018, and Lydia Bean, who lost a 2020 race for the Texas state legislature, along with a few others of various hues and colors. If the Democrats could unite behind one candidate, they might have a chance to place someone in the runoff.

Even if that happens, a Republican is expected to win the seat — if not outright on May 1, then after the runoff.